Now that the U.S. government is functioning again — at least until battles resume in the new year over the debt ceiling — markets have already begun to twitch over the question of when the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin its tapering of quantitative easing or QE, its massive program of purchasing $85 billion of assets each month.

Initially, when the government resumed work after a 16 day shutdown, there were reports, highlighted in a front page lead story in the Financial Times, that tapering of QE could start as early as December. The markets did not like that.

The next day the FT reversed itself and reported that QE would continue until at least the argument over the U.S. debt ceiling was resolved. Morgan Stanley gave tapering a 10 percent chance in December, 30 percent in January and 50 percent in March. Markets regarded this as wonderful news and soared to new records. Some economists think that the Fed may be locked into QE for QEternity, so Mr. Market should be extremely happy.